Grasping the Blue Bags: A Qualitative Study of Perceptions on the Continous Use of Chlorpyrifos-Treated Bags in Plantain Production

C.Q. Wentink, B. van Wendel-de Joode

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract

Abstract

Background: Plantain production is a major income-source in the Bribri and Cabécar Indigenous Territories in Talamanca, Costa Rica. During production, blue chlorpyrifos-treated bags (hereafter named ‘blue bags’) are placed around the bunches to protect the plantain’s peel from stains. Although exposure to the insecticide chlorpyrifos causes adverse health and environmental effects, and alternative production methods do exist, growers continue to use the blue bags. Underlying motives for this behaviour are unknown. Aim: To map plantain producers’ reasons for the continuous use of the blue bags, in the context of the production system. Methods:To explore the perceptions of producers and other relevant actors, an exploratory, qualitative study has been conducted. Data were collected based on a literature review and semi-structured interviews with 31 plantain producers, 11 intermediaries, 2 hired workers, 3 governmental organizations and 5 ngo’s. Results: Both the literature and the interviews showed that economic restrictions are key to the continuous use of the blue bags and that producers are dependent of the quality rules of intermediaries. Moreover, environmental pollution (by littering bags) is of greater concern to most respondents than health risks (by insecticide exposure). A higher price is paid for bagged plantain because of existing aesthetic quality demands on the national market. Most respondents perceive blue bag-use as a necessity to operate on the national market. Conclusions: Economic considerations were found to be the main reason for the continuous use of the blue bags due to buyers’ demand of aesthetic quality. Economic dependency on plantain production and income insecurity are barriers to change towards alternative methods. The finding that most participants perceive environmental problems a bigger concern than health risks is a barrier towards change.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Eventnvironment and Health – Bridging South, North, East and West Conference of ISEE, ISES and ISIAQ Basel, Switzerland -
Duration: 19 Aug 201323 Aug 2013

Conference

Conferencenvironment and Health – Bridging South, North, East and West Conference of ISEE, ISES and ISIAQ Basel, Switzerland
Period19/08/1323/08/13

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